Resourceful Florida manatee frees self after lengthy bicycle tire entanglement


A manatee visitor taking in the sights of Blue Spring - PHOTO BY SAVE THE MANATEE CLUB, COURTESY BLUE SPRING STATE PARK/FACEBOOK
  • Photo by Save the Manatee Club, courtesy Blue Spring State Park/Facebook
  • A manatee visitor taking in the sights of Blue Spring
A manatee who had became entangled in a bicycle tire last year was recently spotted in Blue Spring State Park last week, completely free of this crappy, very painful, hula hoop-esque entrapment.

And the manatee did it all by their damn self.

The escape-artist manatee — who had been dubbed “Schwinn” by researchers and “Wheelie” by concerned manatee enthusiasts [ed. note: wow] — was spotted by keen-eyed manatee watchers from the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership in Blue Spring State Park as manatees returned to the springs during last week's cold front.

Before and after pictures of Schwinn's escape artist mastery - PHOTO COURTESY THE SAVE THE MANATEE CLUB
  • Photo courtesy the Save the Manatee Club
  • Before and after pictures of Schwinn's escape artist mastery
Since last November, representatives from the Save the Manatee Club, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Volusia County, SeaWorld, Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens have all tried rescue attempts to separate "Schwinn" from the tire trap, to no avail. The naturally suspicious Schwinn steered well clear of any and all rescue boats (and who can blame the creature for wanting to avoid a species that throws whole bicycle tires into rivers?).

Researchers aren't exactly certain how the manatee made the daring escape but — are you ready for this sadness? — the tire had been somewhat weakened by a boat propeller that struck Schwinn in February. Seriously? This manatee is a hero.

Schwinn unfortunately has deep scars from the lengthy period of tire encirclement, but other than that, seems to be doing as well as can be expected, and quite contented to vacation in Blue Spring State Park.

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